The Twins have granted right-hander Ryan Vogelsong his release, the club announced to reporters, including Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press (Twitter links). Vogelsong asked for an early release from his minor league contract (Minnesota didn’t have to make a decision on his status until March 28) and the Twins granted the request to give the veteran more time to potentially catch on with another team.
The 39-year-old signed a minor league deal with the Twins in January and was competing for a job in the team’s bullpen or potentially as a fifth starter, especially in the wake of Trevor May’s season-ending UCL tear. According to Berardino, however, other pitchers had moved ahead of Vogelsong in the fifth starter battle, as Vogelsong was hampered by lagging velocity.
Even in his prime, Vogelsong wasn’t much of a power pitcher, relying instead of soft contact rather than missed bats to generate outs. At his best, Vogelsong was a valuable and durable rotation arm for the Giants from 2011-2014, posting a 3.74 ERA over 657 2/3 IP in that stretch and solidly contributing to San Francisco’s World Series titles in 2012 and 2014.
Vogelsong posted a 4.81 ERA, 6.7 K/9 and 1.53 K/BB rate over 82 1/3 innings for the Pirates in 2016, a season shortened by a frightening injury suffered when Vogelsong was hit in the face by a Jordan Lyles fastball. Vogelsong underwent surgery to correct an orbital fracture and was worried about losing his vision, though he ended up returning to the field two months later.